The Manger: A King-Size Bed (2)
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Heb. 1:2b (Holman) . . .whom He has appointed heir of all things . . .
“Heir” implies dignity and dominion, including a legal title to the possessions of another. The word tells us the Son is successor to all that His Father has. Jesus is the goal toward which all of creation is moving. Since all has been subjected to Jesus, we should all submit ourselves to His authority.
Since everything will ultimately belong to Jesus, we must be united with Him or eventually be separated from all that is good. Apart from Jesus, people will have an eternity of nothing worth having. Our possessions are all His. If detached from Him, we’ll leave everything eternally behind someday.
Believers have a far greater hope than this. We are counted as “joint-heirs with Christ” (RM 8:17). All that is His shall be ours. A king once told a favorite subject to ask what he wanted, and it would be given to him. He pondered his options. He could be a great general or have much wealth, but then began to wonder how he could have these honors and all else beside.
He finally went to the king and asked for the hand of his daughter in marriage. This immediately made him heir to all the wealth and honors of the Kingdom. Even so any who choose Christ become an heir to all wealth and glory and honor of the Father’s kingdom. When contemplating Christ, heed the words of John Trapp, “Be married to the heir and have it all.”
Heb. 1:2c . . .and through Whom He made the universe.
No wonder Jesus is heir to all things! He created all things! He is their goal (v. 2b) and their beginning. Jesus was the Father’s acting power at creation, the personal instrument through which creation was accomplished.
Jesus is the Source of energy, history, space, matter, time–they all draw their existence from Jesus. Our sun is a small piece of light borrowed from the Son who is Light. Thunder faintly echoes Jesus’ voice.
Flowers draw their beauty from the One altogether lovely. Mountains are firm, because they draw strength from Him whose arm is almighty.
When confronted by Jesus, we are creatures in the presence of our Creator. Clay in the presence of the Potter can make only one appropriate response, total submission and surrender. Harden not your heart, be soft and pliable, yield to the Source of your very life.
Heb. 1:3a He is the radiance of His glory, . . .
God is Light, a luminous One who dwells in His own uncreated brightness. To see God in His innermost essence means certain death.
His glory is too splendid for us to see. The Father must hide Himself from our view, but loves us and wants to reveal Himself in some way to us.
God the Father allowed His brightness to be transformed in a way that could be safely perceptible to human beings. An outflowing of God’s glory was permitted. A beam was released. It was bright enough to be recognized as God, but veiled enough to keep it from being fatal to human eyes.
Jesus is the Ray that proceeds from the central Glory, and visits us. The Son brings God the Father to us, according to the measure of our capability.
Our text tells us the Source of Christ’ s Being. He has an unbroken connection with the Father. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (JN 10:30).
An illustration from Nature may help. Jesus reveals the glory of the Father, as rays of our sun reveal the glory of that body. A beam from our sun is distinct from the sun; each has its own identity. Even so God the Father is not God the Son, and vice versa. But it must also be said a beam is never separate from the sun, and the sun is never without a beam. In a similar way, the Father and the Son also co-exist. Neither is ever separate from the other.
The most important comparison found in this illustration is; the sun cannot be seen except by a beam. The only way our sun communicates itself is through its rays. Likewise, the Father has hidden Himself except for what shines forth in Jesus. Only by looking at Jesus can God be seen. Without Christ, people are completely in the dark with regard to knowing God.
Heb. 1:3b . . . the exact expression of His nature, . . .
Jesus exactly expresses what God is like. The Son is an engraving made from an original mold, the Father. The picture presented in this phrase is drawn from the stamp of a die on a coin. A stamped coin is an exact counterpart of the original implement. Nothing could be more like the mold. Each carries the distinct features of the other.
I have never seen the dies that make our Lincoln penny, but know exactly what they look like. I have never seen the dies that make our five-cent piece, but know exactly what they look like. I have never seen God the Father, but I know exactly what He is like because I know Jesus.
Auguste Comte, French philosopher, described God as “the continuous resolutant of all the forces capable of voluntarily concurring in the universal perfectioning of the world.” I am glad I do not have to describe my God that way. The real, living God is easy to describe. He is exactly like Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).
Jesus shows to us God’s essence, the mysterious hidden nucleus of the One who is uncreated Light. What is God really like? What is His nature? How can we know what His personality and inner essence are like? This verse provides our answers.
Jesus is God’s very Self revealed. In His words, personality, deeds, emotions, and all else, Jesus perfectly represents His Father’s essence. Every attribute and feature in the personality of the Father is present in equal measure in the Son. Jesus is as loving, as wise, as eternal, etc., as the Father. Jesus Himself said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).
What a beautiful picture! The Father and the Son are one. They share life, honor, praise, and worship, and do so without envy. The love and honor they show one another is to be our pattern for living.
The Son lauds the Father’s words, and the Father responds by saying His greatest speech is His Son. The Son says, “All things belong to My Dad.” The Father replies, “My Son is heir to all that is mine. Everything I have is also His.”
The Son looks at a beautiful world and says, “Dad created this.” The Father responds, “It was accomplished through You, Son.” Jesus says, “Father, You are Glory, absolute perfection.” The Father replies, “Son, You are my out-glowing, my exact image.”
Each is infallibly right in all He says about the other. Both are entitled to everything. Each is Creator. Both are Light. Each is identical to the Other. Both are Sovereign God. They teach us perfectly what it means to love one another. Each is trying to out-give and out-praise the Other. The Father and the Son love each other. Something inside me wants to share in that love. “Jesus, I, too, want to love your Father.” “Father, I too want to love Your Son.” “Holy Spirit, give me a great love for the Father and for the Son.”
Have we given heed to the Son who speaks? Are we wed to the Heir? Are we yielded to our Creator? Have we gazed on the Radiance? Have we embraced the Father’s Image? If we would know God the Father, we must know Jesus the Son.